Giving children a chance to explore their talents is one of the best things Namibia can do to help achieve their goals. Arts Performance Centre (APC) in Tsumeb took the opportunity to help those who have a passion for performing and gave them a platform to spread their wings.
To date APC offers children in Tsumeb lessons in basic drawing, painting, 3-dimensional arts work, in different musical instruments like Trumpet, Saxophone, Piano, Flute, Clarinet, Horn, Harp, all types of Guitars, Violin, Cellox and Marimba as well as traditional and contemporary dancing classes that are offered by professional teachers.
Lis Hidber, the Manager of APC, says the school gives an entire education which includes hygiene, responsibility for others and the members’ own lives, self estimation and general life skills.
“We started by building four music huts in 2004 on a plot given by the Municipality of Tsumeb in order to train children and juveniles in arts, especially in music, visual arts, drama and dancing. After some month these huts were overcrowded, and so we were looking for more sponsors. Lucky enough some private sponsors from Switzerland and Austria donated the money for a stage and 12 more huts,” Hider says.
Through performing arts, APC helps in the development of Namibia’s economy by helping people build careers in music, visual arts, dancing and becoming teachers in schools and different institutions.
Hider says a lot of APC’s members are in the Navy for Military and Police-Bands which makes APC an enterprise of creating jobs for youngsters.
The institution also allows people from all walks with a burning passion of arts to join. “We start with children from four years old with a pre-primary musical education and from seven years to indefinite age with all the above mentioned subjects,” she says.
She explains that APC incorporates people of all races, of all languages and all political affiliations. It also does not discriminate against religious beliefs, socio economic status and level of education.
Everyone who wants to join APC has to be trained already in one of the subjects, time management, diligence and discipline are also prerequisites of the institution.
APC is a Centre where ARTS are performed, learned, taught by a multicultural and a socially mixed community. This means every participant cares for the APC-life as they take over responsibilities.
It is a school where people develop skills, receive recognition for their grades and is also a chance for street-children to stay away from crime and drugs.
Moreover, every learner is also a teacher and every teacher is also a learner. It is a place of leisure some call home.
Hider mentions that at the moment there are 160 members that come daily for lessons and practice.
For the past 11 years, APC has enjoyed the fruits of its hard work. Hider boasts that most of the members have been able to find employment.
“We have members that got jobs as teachers for different subjects in schools or private institutions. Some are now designers and some are members of different bands (Military, Navy, and Police). Some people who were hanging on streets are now busy with music and painting,” she says.
“We also give certificates and grades in all subjects in order for our members to be recognised and gain work experience or satisfy requirements for qualifications. Some of the APC-Bands are invited to perform in churches, in schools, in lodges, for weddings and also abroad. Some busy and talented students also attend workshops in Switzerland,” Hider adds.
It has become a norm that Africans have adopted their own time coined “African time”. Hider says punctuality is a challenge at APC, and that is not a good quality. She also explains that teachers need to work on fostering uprising talent reaffirming student members to increase self confidence.